This is such a common question I get and there is no easy answer now that we live with our dogs and they have so much access to us. So I thought I would give you guys some ideas for clarity.
If you are having some behavioral issues with your dog or feel your dog is getting anxiety, ask yourself the questions below.
- When your dog respects you and your space when you ask.
- When you’ve worked with your dog are working together nicely in most situations.
- When you’re rewarding good behavior calmly.
- When your affection doesn’t trigger excitement unless you want it to…and you should rarely want it to.
- When you can pet your dog and it doesn’t trigger them following you around.
Above are key things you should be able to do with your dog and if you can’t, your dog might be ruling the roost. Is this bad? It only is if you are having unwanted behaviors you aren’t able to help your dog with. They simply can’t listen to the person that is representing that amount of excitement and love. Love is awesome, as long as it’s shared appropriately and at the right time.
Don’t pet your dog when they are loose around the house and come up to you. Instead just ignore that so you don’t nurture it because it turns into the dog training you, haha. That leads to other behaviors you don’t want. Instead, when you want to share affection, only do it when your dog is calm and call them over to you. This puts you in control of the moment. That way the dog isn’t constantly rewarded for entering into your space on their own.
Also, how are you petting your dog. Is it with an excited or high pitched voice and fast pets on the head? I’d say try regularly doing calm scratches to the chest, shoulder, neck area. Then focus on doing some slow massage rather then the “good boy” and the fast pets that amp up your dog. You don’t want to represent mostly excitement if you are struggling with behavioral issues.
Praise, rewards, freedom, needs rules and needs to be earned or no amount of training will help you if you don’t have that! (Except those lucky people with those sensitive and genetically easy dogs ?)